Marketing Automation Software

Software solutions in this group help users build and scale automated marketing campaigns to engage with customers in a personalized and tailored manner across various different channels. Some common software features include ad targeting, automatically generated content, real-time engagement, customer and data analytics, sales intelligence, the measuring and optimizing of campaign aspects and data integrations with other parts of the business.  Read the full software guide...


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What is Marketing Automation Software?

Marketing automation software solutions are digital platforms for marketers to help them streamline and improve their marketing tasks. This integrated set of tools eliminates repetitive tasks, such as managing social media campaigns, lead generation and email marketing, by automating and simplifying them so businesses can perform more efficiently and effectively.

These solutions are essential platforms for businesses that want to better understand their target market. They can gather customer information via interactions through a web page or site visits, social media usage and emails, among other sources. Collected data is then used to determine the behavior and preferences of customers, which are in turn used to create personalized interactions and individualized experiences designed to satisfy clients’ needs and wants.

As such, marketing automation tools give employees more time and opportunities to work on equally (or more) important marketing projects as actions are automatically triggered according to the behavior and preferences of customers.  

Using its various features, marketing automation software allows sales and marketing teams to capture and nurture leads, maximize the sales funnel for prospects and establish meaningful relationships with customers. 

Marketing automation software is classified into different types, each one as equally relevant as the others. Most of these solutions come with specialized functions such as customer relationship management, marketing analytics and automated social media functionalities.

Although marketing automation software is primarily intended for the sales and marketing teams, other users can also benefit. Additionally, whether for a small business or a big, established one, marketing automation tools deliver many advantages.


Common Tools & Features

There are quite a number of tools and features offered by marketing automation solutions.

Lead Management

Capturing leads and nurturing them is one of the major functions of marketing automation software. Although the level of functionality varies from one vendor to another, this feature is found in most—if not all—marketing automation systems. 

The following functionalities are all aspects of lead management:

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is all about allowing businesses to identify their most promising prospects. A criteria and a set of demographics are used as the basis for qualifying leads. These are usually made up of behaviors and attributes that are assigned specific weights or scores. 

In addition to prospecting, lead scoring can also function as a trigger for an email campaign and can automatically alert sales teams as well. 

Lead Nurturing

Once businesses have started to develop relationships with prospects, the next step is to nurture and take care of these relationships. This is where lead nurturing comes in.

An automation workflow for lead nurturing can be designed to further develop a company’s relationship with its prospects. This means spending time on leads and making sure there is constant interaction from the first step to the last. The goal is to continuously bring prospects to the next level until they are ready to purchase and keep the relationship cycle improving.

Lead Profiling/Lead Database

Lead generation and capturing leads means gathering relevant information from prospects. Of course, businesses need to make sure all these details are safely stored and put to good use. This is where profiling and the lead database comes in.

Every time a prospect fills in a form on a website, businesses gather new information. They can use the collected details to create a good lead profile. These, in turn, can be utilized in coming up with personalized email campaigns and offers.

All gathered information can then be stored in the lead database, a centralized system that contains all the details sales and marketing teams need to know about a particular prospect. Aside from basic prospect background, it also allows teams to view and monitor company and prospect interactions such as the number of email clicks and frequency of website visits (as well as which pages the prospect spends the most time on).  

Tracking of Prospect’s Online Behavior

Knowing which website prospects regularly visit and which emails are clicked and opened can help businesses better understand them. What are the prospects’ interests? Which product or brand types are they interested in? Do they follow a particular buying process? These are some of the details companies can gather by regularly tracking their prospects’ online behavior.

Aside from website and email visits and actions, social media interaction and keyword usage also help create a prospect behavior profile.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is another major feature of marketing automation platforms. With online marketing being an essential factor in a company’s marketing processes nowadays, this functionality delivers more than just emails.

Personalized and Batched Emails

Email marketing campaigns can be made simpler with group email features. Businesses can send emails in batches—whether it is to their strongest prospects or to their most loyal customers. This functionality comes with design tools that are easy-to-use, so creating personalized newsletters and emails won’t be a problem.

This feature likewise gives businesses a glimpse of email performance, allowing users to gauge what type of emails and at what time to send them would be the most effective based on the audience receiving them.

Real-Time Emails

Real-time emails—or triggered emails—provide businesses with the ability to quickly respond to customer action and behavior through a real-time email.  A good example of this is when a prospect visits the website and clicks on a particular content, a trigger alert is sent and an online representative (usually from sales) will send the appropriate email right away. 

Registration Forms

These are forms normally found on the company’s website and landing pages and are essential for capturing lead information. For example, a prospect visits the website and answers the form. As soon as the form is completed, the marketing automation system captures the activity and the prospect’s new information is then entered into the database.

Landing Pages

Any marketing campaign can greatly benefit from landing pages. The clicks directed to these pages will contribute to an increase in the company’s conversion rates. As such, businesses that use marketing automation software are at the forefront because of the platform’s WYSIWYG page building feature. This makes it easier for sales and marketing teams to create customized pages for specific emails.

CRM and Website Integration

Integrating with a good customer relationship management or CRM system is essential if businesses want to monitor client behavior. Additionally, this will help provide feedback about the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing projects and similar efforts. 

Website integration is also an essential feature because, like the CRM system, it can contribute to better lead management and the marketing campaign in general.

Social Functionality

Social media plays a big role in the success of every marketing campaign. Most marketing automation platforms now integrate social functionality to address this aspect.

Tracking and Listening

This particular feature helps businesses monitor customer and prospects actions on social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Even their activities on and visits to blogs and similar online networks can be tracked and listened to. 

All the information gathered from this monitoring can then be used to group prospects, improve lead scores and come up with campaigns, among others.

Promotion and Engagement

This sub-feature helps businesses come up with good promotional and social activities that can help increase target audience engagement. Some examples are online polls, online raffle and sweepstakes. Sales and marketing teams can create the activity or application and then share it on the company’s landing pages, website or Facebook page. They can also send emails.

Sales and marketing teams can then use the content to connect with the social media pages of prospects and customers, who can then share the content with their respective contacts.

Social Media Campaigns

This feature helps teams post content on various social media accounts without having to go to each of them. Automated postings are scheduled according to the teams’ preferences.

In addition, this also allows businesses to gather and analyze comments, likes, retweets and replies.

Analytics

Marketing automation software provides some level of measurement that sales and marketing teams can refer to for performance analytics.

Reporting

There are platforms that can generate lead reports based on website activity, landing page performance and email performance, among others. Certain marketing automation tools can also add more functionality by allowing for more customizable queries and metrics.

Web Analytics

This feature gives teams more information about their prospects’ actions on the website. It specifically gathers data about the reason/s for their visit, as well as which of the pages they often visit and how often they visit the website.

It can track even those who are not listed in your database through what is called an anonymous lookup.

Easy-to-Use Features

Marketing automation software features are easy to use. Most systems do not require sales and marketing teams to be tech experts or to hire IT specialists. They’re simple and the instructions are easy to follow. The drag-and-drop designers found in the majority of the systems are a big help, especially when teams need to work on newsletters or social media campaigns.

Aside from the aforementioned capabilities, there are other common marketing automation software tools and features including resource management, program tracking and management and infrastructure capabilities (API, security). However, these are not quite as common and depend on the size and focus of varying marketing automation solutions.


Types of Marketing Automation Software

The effectiveness and efficiency of marketing automation software depends on whether or not a business knows the type that perfectly suits its needs. The most common types are:

Email Marketing Software

Although email marketing is still their main feature, many of these email marketing software solutions now also include functionalities like analytics, landing pages and lead scoring and management.

CRM-integrated Solutions

Customer relationship management systems are now often equipped with marketing automation tools and features, the most popular of which is lead generation. Thus, aside from helping businesses take care of its customers, they also help identify, develop and nurture prospects, as well as limit the number of different solutions and integrations a user may need.

Social Marketing

A wide array of marketing automation tools that are focused mainly on social media now exist. Their special functions and features include tracking of brand mentions on networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as prospecting via LinkedIn.

Marketing Analytics

Marketing analytics can either be a major feature in a fully-fledged marketing automation suite or a standalone tool for businesses. This particular system is concerned with using different metrics in measuring the effectiveness and efficiency of a marketing campaign or program.

Businesses with the goal of increasing revenue, improving ROI and creating customer experiences that convert should go for a product that covers all their marketing automation needs—a central system that can help make their work seamless, more efficient and profitable.


Benefits of Marketing Automation Software

Choosing to work with good marketing automation platforms can bring businesses a multitude of benefits.

Improved Planning By Eliminating Repetitive Tasks

One of the challenges of running a sales and marketing campaign is the many repetitive tasks it involves. With marketing automation software, these tasks are automated and entered into one centralized system. As such, tasks like email marketing and qualifying leads become easier.

In addition, since teams should now have more time in their hands through the use of a marketing automation solution, they can focus their attention on other important tasks. The most significant of these is the planning and creating of marketing campaigns.

Improves Efficiency and Accuracy in the Workplace

Since tasks are automated with marketing automation tools, there is little to no room for human error. Functions such as creating landing pages, forms and drip emails are no longer done manually, so the process is significantly improved. Therefore, efficiency and accuracy are improved.

Flexibility To Help Even Small Teams Create Impact

Running a complicated marketing campaign used to be a big challenge for small business teams. With a marketing automation solution, this is no longer the case. Since the majority of the manual work is automated, small teams no longer have to worry about increasing their workforce; they can work on the campaign seamlessly and efficiently.

Marketing Campaigns Can Be Easily Tracked

Marketing automation systems provide businesses with complete reports on their campaign’s feedback metrics. So, tracking the number of clicks, downloads and subscribers is easy to do. Likewise, carrying out analysis after a marketing campaign without having to work through tons of manual paperwork is now possible.

Better Customer Retention

Marketing automation software tracks customer behaviors and preferences, so it is easy for businesses to understand them. It is now easy to come up with campaigns and programs that cater to their needs, interests and concerns. This will lead to customer satisfaction and an increase in customer retention.

Filled-to-the-brim Sales Funnels

With marketing automation software, teams no longer have to worry about empty sales funnels. Automation systems allow marketing teams not only to create new campaigns but also to repurpose existing ones. So, businesses will never run out of campaigns.

Increased Revenues

A more efficient and accurate workflow, plus a satisfied customer base and a good prospects list—all these can lead to only one thing: an increase in revenue.

An All-in-One Centralized System

Marketing automation software is an all-in-one central hub for all business marketing needs. Even if a company has multiple teams working on a project, consistency and efficiency are guaranteed because they can collaborate with each other without having to go through tedious manual processes. Everything is in one central location.

So, if a campaign brings together the marketing and SEO teams, the two can work together by sharing inputs, feedbacks and data gathered to create a cohesive and effective campaign.

Overall, a good marketing automation software can be an essential need for every business that wishes to improve its overall performance and increase its chances for better sales and profit.


Common Features of Marketing Automation

API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Audience Targeting Allows for audience segmentation, generally to tailor marketing or advertising messages to target specific user groups.
Batch Permissions & Access Control user or group access and permission settings for software or other systems.
Brand Management Tracking and promotion features for one or more brands of products.
Contact Management Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.
Contact Sharing Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.
Conversion Tracking Track signups, purchases or user actions to measure the effectiveness of marketing or advertising campaigns. This is often used to optimize inbound or outbound marketing efforts and improve sales conversions through a range of online channels.
Customer Management Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Email Integration Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Lead Management Manage business leads to improve sales outreach processes or stay on top of prospect inquiries.
Lead Scoring Manually or automatically assign quality scores to business leads to target / segment sales outreach efforts.
Marketing Automation Automate marketing processes, such as outreach emails, customer engagement, chat replies through the use of chatbots and others.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Password & Access Management Manage passwords or access to systems for yourself or your organisation.
Social-Media Integration Integration support with social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and others.

Latest User Reviews of Marketing Automation Products

MyLnk
Benjamin Logan
08 Jan 2020
"URL management platform"

It has an excellent user interface that is easily navigable and intuitive. We shorten URLs easily using the platform. It also allows...

MyLnk
Caroline Reigen
12 Jan 2020
"Campaign management tool"

It has a simple intuitive user interface that enable us to productively work with our URLs and campaigns. Mainly, we shorten our URL...

ActiveCampaign
Camila Bruttomeso
12 Jan 2020
"Agility in the CRM service and active camp..."

It is an automation tool in the essential marketing management, it is part of my daily life thanks to its easy adaptation to my syst...

Infusionsoft
Dayana Yusimg Perez Chang
17 Jan 2020
"Infusionsoft specializes in different mark..."

We have done many campaigns and we have realized that audience segmentation is quite easy to do within the program itself. It is ver...


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